In 2015, a Good Samaritan found a tiny kitten abandoned in the snow and brought her to Tabby’s Place.
Staff at the Ringoes, New Jersey-based sanctuary nursed her back to health, but tests confirmed the little one had Feline leukemia virus (FeLV). While they set up a makeshift isolation ward (FeLV is highly contagious), a woman came by and told the staff she wanted to adopt a cat no one else wanted.
She chose the FeLV+ kitten, who was dubbed Quinn, even though she knew they might only have a few months or perhaps a year or two together.
Seven years later and despite the odds, Quinn is still with her human mom. The latter decided she wanted to thank Tabby’s Place with a $3.5 million donation to help FeLV+ cats like Quinn. With the hefty donation and the support of many other donors, the sanctuary is closing in on the $5.5 million to cover the construction of Quinn’s Corner, a first-of-its-kind center for treating cats infected with FeLV.
“These little ones are really the ‘final frontier’ in terms of cats who have nowhere to turn,” Tabby’s Place Development Director Angela Hartley told PITB, “and we’re thrilled to finally be in a position to welcome them at Tabby’s Place.”
Staff at Tabby’s Place see Quinn’s Corner as a major step forward in caring for kitties who normally don’t have a chance. Because they don’t have the facilities, know-how or resources to treat FeLV+ cats, many shelters simply euthanize them.
In the initial announcement, the sanctuary described Quinn’s Corner as a place where “cats who wandered the world looking for love will find cage-free bliss, matchless medical care, and the dignity and tenderness that every Tabby’s Place cat enjoys.”
The construction crew broke ground about a year ago and, if factors like supply chain issues for construction materials and the weather cooperate, the staff at Tabby’s Place hope to celebrate with a grand opening in autumn.
Because of how contagious and deadly FeLV is — it can pass by grooming, sharing food and water bowls, and close contact — infected cats must be kept apart from the other feline residents. Quinn’s Corner will have its own entrance and lobby, individual suites and a large communal room for FeLV cats, and “solaria,” which are like fancy catios for the ailing furballs to get fresh air and enjoy chirping at birds.
Separately, the project will add a nursery and adoption suite for kittens and an “operations center” where staff can attend to all the behind-the-scenes work of caring for felines, including laundry and food prep.
Tabby’s Place will match donations until they reach the $2 million goal to supplement the initial donation of $3.5 million, but cat lovers can continue to donate at any time, Hartley said.
All construction photos and renderings provided by Tabby’s Place. Top photo credit Asish Aji/Pexels.